Corona’s homebodies: ‘At home, the Netflix temptation is constantly lurking’

12 Mar 2020

Whether they like it or not, coughing students are strongly urged to stay at home. And whoever is currently in Italy for an Erasmus exchange is urgently advised to return. How are Nijmegen students dealing with this? And what do they think of the advice given by Radboud University?

Tristan Payer (24) – Artificial Intelligence Master’s, residence: Rovereto, Italy

‘Since 20 February, I have been studying in Rovereto, a small town in northern Italy. The city lies between two areas with a negative travel advice, the so-called red zones. I’m not ill, and I haven’t been ill recently either, but the consequences of the virus in the area are inescapable. All universities in Italy are closed, including mine. On top of that, there is nowhere to play sports indoors, cinemas and some museums are closed, and fewer buses are running.

I especially missed the introductory activities, which were cancelled due to the coronavirus. It’s such a shame, because these activities really help you get to know the other Erasmus students. At the moment, I am spending a lot of time at home working on my thesis. Sometimes I go out for a walk or a bike ride. Of course it’s boring. I didn’t go abroad for this.

Personally, I’m not afraid of being infected, and I’d like to continue my stay abroad. However, this morning I received an e-mail from Radboud University with the urgent advice to ‘end my stay here and return to the Netherlands’. I don’t know if I’m going to stay and keep studying here anyway, but first I’ll contact my study adviser. After that, I’ll take it from there.’

Sophie Rikken

Sophie Rikken (22) – English Language and Culture Bachelor’s, residence: Oss

‘Last Monday I went to a concert in 013 Tilburg, featuring the band Cage the Elephant. Later that night, I didn’t feel well. My symptoms: coughing, sore throat and an almost 38-degree fever. The next morning I called my GP, who immediately advised me to contact the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Probably a cold, they said, because I got sick within one night, and the incubation period for corona is two weeks. They did advise me to stay at home, just to be sure, until the symptoms are over.

Because all I have to do is write my thesis, and I can do that at home, staying at home is not having a major impact on my study progress. However, it did have a major impact on my side job at a furniture store. When I told my supervisor that I had to stay home due to a possible coronavirus infection, the news spread like wildfire and the whole company was instantly in turmoil. The head office cancelled internal training courses and the staff excursion, and even cancelled a meeting set to host between 120 and 150 managers. That makes me feel pretty crappy.

Only since today have I been feeling a little better. Although I’m staying home on the advice of the university as a precaution. Allow myself to recover and then quickly back to work and hobbies.’

Pip van der Zanden (21) – American Studies Bachelor’s, residence: Eindhoven

‘Since last weekend, I’ve had a sore throat and cough every now and then. Although it’s unclear whether it is corona, I’m following the advice of the university and am staying home. There is a danger that I will infect others with the virus, or that I will become infected myself, because – with my current symptoms – my resistance is jeopardised. I find it annoying to have to stay at home, especially because I can concentrate better in the university library. The Netflix temptation is a little less there than at home. Ha!’

I think the university’s advice to stay at home if you have a cold is justified. To avoid having to shutter the entire university, it is better to be safe than sorry. Does it affect my studies? I have a mandatory lecture tomorrow… I really hope my symptoms are over by then.’


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